In all the hype surrounding the acquisition of David Booth from the Florida Panthers, there have been repeated descriptions of the fleet footed Booth as a “power forward”. And, as is often the case in this hockey mad market, such claims are over blown.
The notion of a “power forward” implies a few things typically. For starters, bigger than average size. Booth is listed at a sizable 212 lbs, but at 6 feet, he is barely an average NHL’er in his physical presence. And “power forwards” often are known for spending some time in the sin bin. On that mark, Booth looks like Lady Byng, never having racked up more than 38 PIM in a season. And if all that wasn’t enough, reports out of Florida had him in tears when first informed of this trade. Really? If a trade to a perennial Cup contender from a moribund hockey backwater has this fellow choked, you have to wonder about his commitment level.
Our initial post on this trade referenced Booth as a stand-in for Mason Raymond, albeit a somewhat bulkier version. We will stick with that. We like that Mike Gillis is cashing out on the assets of Sturm and Sameulsson, who are in steep decline, and the willingness to take a chance on a still young player with upside. But we should be fully aware of this player’s limitations as well. While he has a history of taking the puck to risky places (and paying the most unfortunate price), that hardly makes him the second coming of Cam Neely. And his dreadful play away from the puck (check his stunningly poor -29 rating in his last 39 games) is bound to put another Ryan Kesler Selke nomination on some shaky ground.
There you have it, as always, the straight goods.